My first impressions of this voice were mineral: A native copper resonance driving through space. The sedimentary influence of centuries of song. The inner core of a purifying ore, reversing the corrosion of our spirits. A high density alkaline substance with an electrical conductivity that reaches the intelligence of my skin…
If my ears were eyes, they would see flint, glinting on the stream bed. If my ears were hands, they would feel raw ochre, crumbling with gold dusts. And if my ears were tongues, they would taste iron, kale and honey.
Though we work with scores and all these songs are written down for some form of posterity, the living treasure and actual significance comes through only in the human transmission. Week after week, Svetla Stanilova offers her voice, her mana-wahine and her patience – to transmit the tone, the phrasing and the ornaments that will carry our stories, be they of love or war.
Working in the old ochre building (The Yellow School) with its peeling facade and sunny outlook, is a treat. Our gazes plunge down over the roman amphitheater like birds, then out to the Rhodope Mountains beyond, as she sings me “Mama na Slwncho Govori“ (Mother Spoke to the Sun) from nearby Pazardjik… LISTEN HERE